Innovation News November 2015

TORONTO OFFERS AFFORDABLE HOUSING INCENTIVES
The City of Toronto is offering incentives to developers to build affordable housing in the downtown and other city locations.   The city’s Open Door Program will provide fast tracking for affordable housing developments on  publicly owned surplus lands, regulatory streamlining for private developers  and other incentives for mixed-use projects.    

NLS REPORT ON URBAN MOBILITY
The National League of Cities (NLC)  has released a new report that demonstrates that few urban areas are adapting to technological and private network developments in their transportation planning efforts.   The report contends that failure to account for these changes negatively impacts efforts to combine transit modes efficiently.  

TORONTO  PROPOSAL CREATES “UNDER GARDINER” PARK
A proposed project, the Under Gardiner,  a private/public partnership, would convert a 10 acre parcel of land beneath the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto into space for markets, parks and public events.  The core of the project would be a cycling and pedestrian trail to provide access to up to 55 “civic rooms.”    

DESIGNING COMPLETE STREETS
The  U.S. National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released design guidelines for cycling infrastructure and urban street design, based on the principle that urban streets are public places that should support the broadest range of multi-modal and  pedestrian use.  

DUTCH SOLAR PANEL BIKE LANE
The Dutch Town of Krommenie has opened a bike path composed of solar panels which has generated 9,800 kilowatt-hours of energy over the past year.  The project reflects growing interest in sustainable infrastructure innovation such as Idaho-based developers of Solar Roadways.

LAND USE AND MUNICIPAL BUDGETS
Smart Growth America (SGA) has released a new report that outlines a fiscal impact model that can be used to quantify the costs of land development options to determine the fiscal dividend that can result from smarter growth approaches and more efficient service and infrastructure investments.   

NEW TECHNIQUES FOR MANAGING STORMWATER
A report, “Rainfall to Results: the Future of Stormwater pecifies how communities can address stormwater challenges using approaches that are evolving based on new science, experience, technical innovation and responsive regulations.
 
THE USE OF BODY-WORN CAMERAS
The use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) is growing rapidly among local government police services to enhance transparency, accountability and officer safety.  The Phoenix Police Department has recently assessed it use of BWCs and identified lessons learned.  

CREATING PERFORMANCE DASHBOARDS
A performance dashboard provides a comprehensive view of key organizational performance indicators.  Learn more about basic steps in defining key indicators, developing a data inventory and choosing a dashboard platform.

PLANNING LESSONS FROM EUROPE
A new study from the University of Liverpool identifies European countries that demonstrate success in using planning tools to both stimulate and regulate development to meet housing and regeneration challenges.     

RETHINKING OLDER RAIL TRANSIT
Some U.S. cities that already have rail transit systems in place are rethinking transit-supportive policy provisions and expanding their application, upgrading to state-of-the art train control systems or pursuing private-public partnerships to build or expand existing infrastructure.    

NEW REPORT POINTS TO GREEN SAVINGS POTENTIAL
A new Climate Economy report (Global Commission on the Economy and Climate) finds that public investment in low carbon emission infrastructure and energy efficient buildings and waste management facilities can generate significant savings.     

A BUSINESS CASE FOR SMART GROWTH
A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report links smart growth policies and benefits for businesses that locate in jurisdictions with smart growth features, including increased productivity and innovation, improved access to labour and stronger retail sales.    

ONLINE TRANSPORTATION TOOL PROMOTES HEALTH
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) has developed a new online tool that assists decision makers, health professionals and the public to assess how local transportation options and operations can impact health outcomes.      

SHEFFIELD, UK SMART LAB
This past summer, the City of Sheffield Council launched the Sheffield Smart Lab initiative to give citizens an opportunity to address the city’s key challenges.  Entrepreneurs are invited to submit ideas and solutions that make innovative use of technology to improve quality of life for residents.      

‘TREESCRAPERS’ AS PART OF URBAN LIFE
Treescrapers, or buildings that are designed for both density and environmental gain, reflect a new, unconventional building design.  Learn more  about “treescrapers” and whether their green features can work.   
    
THE VALUE OF PARKING MANAGEMENT
As parking supply decreases in urban areas, greater attention is being paid to strategic parking management, a process that can result in more efficient use of existing parking supply, support for alternative travel modes and avoidance of over expenditure on new parking facilities.

NEW NYC TOOL MAPS NEIGHBOURHOOD ECONOMIES   
The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development has created an interactive map called “What Does Your Neighborhood Economy Look Like?” to enable tracking of a range of key economic factors by community to assist in economic investment decisions in New York City.   

FIVE SMART CITY IDEAS
From innovative flood proofing to tracking construction projects to digital signage to improve customer service, learn more  about how cities around the world are implementing smart ideas.  

RETHINKING EMERGENCY SERVICE DELIVERY
Service provided by Fire Departments often reflects a range of fire, medical and rescue emergencies and often a typical 911 call can result in the dispatch of both a fire truck and an ambulance.  Increased related emergency service costs are leading to reviews of protocols and governance structures and greater innovation in ambulance services.       

URBAN AGRICULTURE PLAN TO TRANSFORM DETROIT EAST SIDE
A $15 million urban agricultural project will transform 22 blocks of Detroit’s blighted east side into an area of greenhouses and hoop houses (unventilated plastic greenhouses).  The project will be operated by RecoveryPark Farms and will employ ex-offenders.

AGE-READY CITIES          
The AgeLab at MIT is conducting research on age-friendly assistive devices and neighbourhood design and other strategies to prepare for the coming “silver tsunami.”  Learn more about the challenges that will confront graying societies.

A ROBOT FOR SUBURBAN STREETS
Starship Technologies (Estonia) has developed a robot to deliver groceries and small packages to suburban homes to try solve the “last mile” problem.  The autonomous rechargeable delivery vehicle will be loaded at a warehouse and will move slowly along sidewalks to individual customers.    

FORCES SHAPING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS OF THE FUTURE
Cities and counties will need to confront issues such as declining trust in government, generational changes, competition for resources and conflicting taxpayer expectations.  Learn more about approaches to these as well as other challenges.    
 
ORIGAMI AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING
Origami, a traditional Japanese art form, is the basis of an emerging technique in structural engineering.  Researchers in the U.S. have developed “zipper tubes,” flexible long tubes with zigzagged creases that can be one hundred times stronger than material used to make the tubes.  The tubes can enable structures to be preassembled and shipped to building sites.  

COMMUNITY MICROGRIDS
Community microgrids (CMGs) connect smaller, decentralized sources of power to create a network of energy sources that can feed into and out of a local grid system.  Learn more about some operating CMGs and their benefits.  

CALIFORNIA DEVELOPS WORLD’S LARGEST RECYCLED WATER PROGRAM
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is working with Los Angeles and Orange Counties on a plan to purify and reuse up to 168,000 acre-feet of water annually.  The project will require the building of a new treatment plant and delivery facilities.    

THE URBANOMICS MOBILITY PROJECT
A collaboration between MasterCard and Cubic Transportation Systems will lead to a new data analysis platform that will provide insight into the way that transit and economic activity are linked in urban areas.  Real time data will show where there are gaps in transit and emergency services, when combined with crime statistics.

TECH HUBS IN U.S. HEARTLAND
The combination of competitive salaries and a low cost of living are making “Silicon Prairie” one of the top places for growth in tech jobs. While San Francisco and Seattle remain high tech industry leaders,  the focus of startup companies is a location where talent is cheaper and easier to retain.

MONTRÉAL WORKING COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF THE METROPOLIS
In response to a Québec Government commitment to transform relations with its municipal sector, Montréal’s working committee on the status of the metropolis has released a report with recommendations for a new partnership with the Québec Government, new administrative and fiscal frameworks, a new economic vision and improved mobility.

Contact

Bruce McLeod
MEPCO Coordinator

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